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The Teenagers

Reality Check (XL)

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Imagine a really awful soundtrack to an equally horrible fashion show, and you've got a pretty good idea what the debut album by the Paris-based Teenagers sounds like. The trio mines a bunch of late-'80s/early-'90s Britpop on Reality Check, but it all ends up sounding like leftovers from one of New Order's blah '00 comebacks. The band claims it started off as a joke, but more than anything, it comes off like a deliberate attempt at jacking some cash from blog-hopping hipsters. Most of the time, lyrics are spoken rather than sung, offering bland and cliché-stuffed observations about chic youth culture: Paris is "crazy" in the electroclashy "Streets of Paris," and "French Kiss" chronicles a late-night party that results in a, yep, French kiss. Even the band's ode to buxomly actress Scarlett Johansson (not-so-cleverly called "Starlett Johansson") is painful — although it is one of the few songs that includes a chord change. Here's hoping that these Teenagers grow up real soon.

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